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Wuhan Virus Watch: U.S. takes steps to prepare for pandemic

Wuhan Virus Watch: U.S. takes steps to prepare for pandemic

South Korea on the brink of an epidemic and Italy is reporting a significant outbreak.

The number of Wuhan Coronavirus cases is now reported at 77,279, distributed between 32 countries and territories. The death toll currently stands at 2,251.

U.S. takes steps to prepare for pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that the U.S. is taking steps to prepare for the possibility of a pandemic.

Health authorities are closely monitoring the spread of the virus — not only in China, where the outbreak began and where the vast majority of the nearly 77,000 cases have been diagnosed — but also in the growing number of cases in other countries. By definition, a pandemic is an epidemic on more than one continent.

In South Korea, officials said cities were facing an “unprecedented crisis” as the number of cases doubled in a single day, rising to more than 200. Many of the infections diagnosed in Korea are linked to a single church service, said officials who urged residents to stay indoors as much as possible.

On Friday, Lebanon diagnosed its first case. And the Iranian Health Ministry has confirmed 18 cases of the illness, including four deaths.

South Korea may be on brink of declaring an epidemic

The reason for the pandemic preparation is that it appears South Korea is on the brink of declaring a COVID-19 epidemic, with 207 reported cases and one death.

The number of COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) infections has quadrupled from 51 Wednesday with most new cases being traced to church services in the southeastern city of Daegu, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). On Thursday, 53 new cases were reported.

…KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong during a press briefing early in the day confirmed that the majority of the new cases were “linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in Daegu, where the 31st patient, the country’s possible ‘super spreader,’ attended worship services.”

The 61-year-old woman tested positive for the virus earlier this week, having already attended worship services at the church on Feb. 9 and Feb. 16.

34 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S.

After the return of the Americans quarantined on the Diamond Princess off the coast of Japan, CDC officials report that there are now confirmed 34 cases of novel coronavirus in the country.

These include 21 cases among repatriated individuals, as well as 13 US cases.

“We are keeping track of cases resulting from repatriation efforts separately because we don’t believe those numbers accurately represent the picture of what is happening in the community in the United States at this time,” Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Friday.

North Korea Claims Zero Coronavirus Cases, But Experts Are Skeptical

Apparently killing officials who break quarantine is not an effective infection control measure.

…South Korean media, relying on anonymous sources, have reported cases of COVID-19 in North Korea, some of them fatal. Those reports have not been independently confirmed. In a statement last week, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, “The United States is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak.”

…Observers believe fears of the virus may also have led North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to reduce his public appearances and scale back or cancel military parades and exercises. He was not seen in public between Jan. 25 and Feb. 16.

Reports suggest that closing the border with China, North Korea’s main trading partner, has caused economic activity to slump and prices to soar.

Coronavirus outbreak grows in northern Italy, 16 cases reported in one day

The infection is now beginning to hit Italy hard.

An outbreak of coronavirus in northern Italy worsened on Friday, with officials announcing 14 confirmed cases in the wealthy region of Lombardy and two in the adjacent region of Veneto.

Just hours after revealing that six people had come down with the virus in the first known cases of local transmission in Italy, Lombardy officials said a further eight had tested positive, including five health workers.

The government said that in the affected area, covering several small towns southeast of Italy’s financial capital Milan, it was banning all public events and closing schools, offices and sports venues.

29-year old Chinese doctor who postponed wedding to treat patients dies of infection

A 29-year-old Chinese doctor who postponed his wedding to treat patients just died of the disease.

Dr. Peng Yinhua — who worked in the outbreak’s epicenter — died Thursday after contracting the deadly infection as he treated patients at the People’s No. 1 Hospital in Wuhan’s Jiangxia district, official news agency Xinhua reported, citing the local health bureau.

Peng was hospitalized on Jan. 25 and transferred to Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital for treatment five days later. He died from the virus at 9:50 p.m. Thursday, despite doctors’ life-saving efforts, the report said.

The respiratory and critical illness doctor had planned to get married during the Chinese New Year holiday, but put off the ceremony so he could be on the front lines as the outbreak intensified.

Peng “never got to send out his wedding invitations, which are still in his office drawer,” Xinhua reported.


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Do you notice what is missing from these reports? That’s right, the death toll from this virus in 1st world countries having good medical care. So far, an accurate projection of the death toll, in the US, is impossible to project, because of the limited number of cases in the country. What is becoming potential problem is the over-utilization of medial facilities. People, terrorized by the irresponsible press coverage of this virus, go to a hospital if they exhibit any flu-like symptoms. Hospitals than treat them as though they have the COVID virus and admit them, until it can be determined that they actually are infected with the virus. In countries with limited medical facilities, this can crash the system.

What is interesting is that we are just now seeing reports of the 52 deaths of children in the US from influenza B, so far this year. No one cared, until now. So, we ignore flu deaths, in the US, but we wring our hands in near panic over a virus which has not proven itself to be any more deadly than the Flu, in countries with modern, adequate medical systems.

I love media-manufactured crisis.

    txvet2 in reply to Mac45. | February 22, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    It seems like the State Dept is doing their best to spread it around.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Mac45. | February 22, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    I find it hard to understand why you fail to grasp how serious this is. Look at the numbers, 3-4 new infections per existing infection, the Spanish flu was only 1.8. Up to two weeks per infected person being contagious, meaning quarantine comes too late to stop spread of the virus. 20% of patients end up in serious or critical condition and need to be hospitalized. That alone will result in staggering medical costs. And 5% of people die. That is 26 million deaths over a period of less than six months.

    There are too many people on earth, and that makes us very susceptible to something like this. Nature always cures overpopulation of any species.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to JusticeDelivered. | February 22, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Opps, not 26 million, 16 million (5%)

      Please allow me to sink the good ship SS US Covid epidemic for you.

      The Spanish Flu of 1918, was over 100 years ago. In 1918, the life expectancy for Americans was 32 years for men and 34.5 years for women. In 2018, 100 years later, the life expectancy was 80 years for men and 84.5 for women. Most of that is due to medical breakthroughs and care, not eating Kale. Do you really believe that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans will die of the Covid virus in the USA? Really??? We are not some nation with a a 3rd or 4th rate medical system. We have the finest medical service system in the world. On top of that, no one seems too care about the common diseases that we face every year in this country. 16,000-40,000 deaths from flue every year in the US and no one bats an eye. 52 children dead this flu season and no school closures and no one being quarantined in their homes because they can not prove they were inoculated against the flu, as happened when only a handful of children died from complications of measles. What was the difference?

      Now, some small populations in the USA will likely feel the effects of the virus. Populations such as the homeless, the elderly, especially those with existing respiratory complaints, infants and those with immune deficiencies will have to be careful. But the majority of the population should not be at a significant risk of death.

      Look, it is fine to worry about people in other countries who, for a variety of reasons, do not have the level of health care extant in the US. But, scaring the American people with a manufactured claim of an epidemic, when one has not occurred or is even likely, is criminal. This is a media manufactured crisis in this country. Why they are doing it, is question which people should want answered.

        MattMusson in reply to Mac45. | February 23, 2020 at 7:53 am

        You are completely wrong in your belief that first world medicine would completely defeat the virus. If the virus has a mortality rate in China that is 21 times greater than normal, it will have a much higher death rate in the USA as well. Also, in the case of an Epidemic, we would very quickly run out of antivirals. Hospitals would quickly become over crowded. The first wave would receive good treatment. After that, treatment would be limited.

        However, what is in our favor is that we are already in late February. We have NEVER had a flu epidemic in the summer and we won’t this time. The flu season is over in April. It is the lateness in the season and our superior hygiene that will defeat the virus.

        I am more afraid of the death toll from when Chinese manufactured medicines disappear from the market. A lack of Antibiotics and Insulin could endanger many, many people.

          I never said that our medical system would COMPLETELY destroy the COVID-19 virus. What I did say is the US medical system would severely reduce the mortality rate of the virus. And, people in high risk categories die from viral infections every year, in the US, to the tune of tens of thousands and nobody bats an eye. This flu season alone, over 13,000 people have died in the US, including 52+ children, we are not all running around with our hands in the air. None of this “news” was even reported by the national media until after the COVID scare stories began to appear. What is interesting, in your post, is that you agree with me, after disagreeing with me, that, at this point, we really have nothing to fear.

          Medical facilities would become overcrowded, now. The reason for this is because, instead of treating most people as influenza victims and giving them limited institutional treatment and sending them home to recuperate, they would be admitted and the hospital would treat them for a long period of time. Places with an extremely large homeless population would likely be heavily hit and most of these cases would be, essentially, charity cases and the government(s) would end up footing the bill, which could cause them financial distress. Supplies of disposable medical supplies, most of which are imported into the US, could become greatly reduced.

          But, this is all hysterical speculation, at this point. None of this has happened, in the US. We have no idea how much of a threat the COVID virus is, because we still do not know exactly what it is and how dangerous it is. What if we see a similar infection rate to that of influenza a and b and a similar death toll, 16000-40000 a year, in the US? Are we all still going to be running around screaming the sky is falling and claiming this is TEOTWAWKI?

          The rest of the world is in different straits with this virus. Most of the rest of the world does not have the medical system which the US enjoys. This includes many of the “developed, 1st world” countries. These nations have limited or sporadic care facilities and/or rationing of medical services.

          This is a manufactured crisis, at this point, just as the SARS crisis, the measles crisis and a dozen other “health” crisis were, that have cropped up in the last decade. We are still waiting for Ebola to depopulate the African continent, after all. The real question is why the manufactured media crisis and why now?

The term “super spreader” used here, and IIRC, to someone in the UK, has me curious. Does this designation mean only that the person had an opportunity- thru contact/proximity and/or personal hygiene habits- to infect a lot of others, or are these unlucky ones an especially favorable host to the virus? Seems like an important question to be answered.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to TheChemist. | February 22, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Methinks KCDC director Jeong Eun-kyeong just meant the person really got around. However in the context it could also be taken as a bigoted, racist dig at that church and Christians……

    JusticeDelivered in reply to TheChemist. | February 22, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    It is a person who spreads the virus for a long time before falling ill or a person who has an abnormal number of contacts in a fairly short period of time. I do not think the designation is derogatory.

Description of a early 20th century chinese market by Colonel Joseph Stilwell in Barbara Tuchman’s book ‘Stilwell and the American Experience in China 1911-45’.

“Wuchow – All the color and vitality, the physical welter of smells, sounds and bodies, the antiquity and infinite ingenuities, the charms and horrors of Chinese life engulfed him in Canton. He saw a cat and dog market where cats were cooked, split and hung up for sale and dog stew dished out of a pot; a waterclock dating from 1325 […] He wandered through a maze of narrow stone-paved streets and alleys filled with Chinese running into each other, “hurling imprecations and warnings and crying their wares” with shouts, chants, tinkling bells or the clacking of sticks on blocks of wood. Sellers and buyers of everything conducted business in the streets, weighing and bargaining, women picking over chicken bones in a basket, a tailor sewing, a man stuffing straw into pots, another weighing fish, another selling human hair, pet larks in cages, the squeal of pigs and cackle of hens, the smell of urine and of the public closets which were “just a row of stalls with a log to squat on, in places kids defecating in the streets.” China was a contrast between a man making ornaments of kingfisher feathers cut and pasted in tiny pieces of pale blue and mauve to imitate enamel, and “puddles, mud, filth, refuse, rags, glimpses into mysterious interiors.”

19th century Hankow-Hanyang-Wuchang (otherwise known as Wuhan)

She never has been suitable for other than hyphenated judicial temperament. At least she seems to have gotten her money’s worth from the dentist. IIRC, she put about $50K into those pretty pearly teeth.

Lucifer Morningstar | February 22, 2020 at 4:39 pm

Wuhan Virus Watch: U.S. takes steps to prepare for pandemic

But . . . but . . . but . . . all the US federal officials told use we have nothing to worry about. They had everything under control. That the risks were low for infection and this turning into a pandemic. Even Valerie (who seems to have cut and run from commenting here) told us we were all just paranoid idiots. But it seems as if time has proven me right. The US government has screwed the pooch on this one. If they even cared in the first place. Which I doubt. And now the general population is going to suffer for their indifference.

Get ready people. We haven’t even seen the worst yet. But we will sooner than later. Guaranteed.

Lucifer Morningstar | February 22, 2020 at 4:42 pm

In a statement last week, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said, “The United States is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak.”

No offense meant but I really don’t think that when push comes to shove that anyone in the United States really cares what the hell happens to the Norks. I want to know what the US federal government is doing to protect the citizens of the United States.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Lucifer Morningstar. | February 22, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    We should probably close our boarders sooner, rather than later. And when it does get here we should guarantee to slow spread of the virus. Impact would be less severe if we do not have to deal with as many sick people all at once.

Connivin Caniff | February 22, 2020 at 5:33 pm

Governments can’t do anything right. Wait until the criminally neglected electric grid collapses.

Thank you Communist Red China for the gift that keeps on giving. Ah so. Ah so. You all ah so!!

I was reading a liberal at threadreaderappdotcom today all worried about a pandemic here. We won’t be able to handle it – the anti-science Trump is POTUS! Oh, no! Horrors!

I’m really hoping the guy who wrote it is a heavy smoker living in smoggy LA….. with it’s large Chinese immigrant population…

Trump is a businessman, not a politician. He’ll delegate the response to someone who has a clue. That’s what leaders do. They don’t micromanage.

Several healthy doctors have died after becoming infected makes me question the fatality figures. they could not just make their deaths disappear.

The reality is; We know only what the Chinese government wants us to know. We will not know more than that until they reveal what they want us to know. It will, as other have mentioned, present itself by summations of facts showing in the markets as to how widespread it is in China. When the bottom lines of world trade, travel and investments committed to on both sides of the world are moving downward. Especially the markets that have followed a globalization via the propping up by our own Export/Import Bank, an outgrowth of the Marshall Plan, under the guise of aide to industry but is a root cause of why China has scarfed up all our technology then turned into an unfair market for their profit. They longer they can control he media, the longer they have on not killing the golden goose.
When reading/hearing of a news report stemming from China about China, trust but verify. When you do, take 3 out of 5 reports and then only if they derive from different sources even if you have to read the foreign press to find them. We’re past the point of trusting the current media of what it has to offer as fact, but more like the “sound byte of the day”.

All I know is, I was expecting a package from SEA and it’s already around 3 weeks overdue. If that’s a nutshell example of the state of commerce to/from that side of the Pacific, the world economy is going in the tank. And since China is the source of most of our medicines and medical supplies, the fact that they’re running short is de facto evidence that the world is going to run short, so predictions about how minimally we’ll be affected by a virus we don’t even understand yet seem a little Pollyannish.